Bar Moga, the Japanese inspired cocktail bar and restaurant in Greenwich Village, is launching a new cocktail-inspired series with acclaimed bartender Nana Shimosegawa. Bar Moga takes its name from the figure of the moga or “modern girl” (think the Japanese version of a flapper). The series offers cocktails highlighting Japanese ingredients created by Nana, the first female bartender at the renowned East Village cocktail bar Angel’s Share and a world-class, innovative mixologist. We asked Nana about being a woman in the industry, Japanese ingredients, and cocktail education.
Downtown: What does it mean to be a woman in this field?
Nana Shimosegawa: I’ve been very blessed that of all the bars I’ve worked at, I was rewarded for the effort I put in. As the first female bartender at Angel’s Share, I worked long and hard to prove myself and I believe that’s the reason I was the first ever female manager at Angel’s Share.
Downtown: What makes being a mixologist in the US and in New York special?
NS: I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to move to NYC — I think it’s my destiny! I’ve met talented bartenders, who eventually turned into friends. They taught me the “New York Way” when it comes to hospitality, and I look forward to spreading the New York culture wherever my life takes me.
Downtown: What are three things Americans need to know about sake and shochu?
- It’s very useful for making an umami cocktail
- It pairs well with a variety of cuisines
- Shochu is very low-calorie (and has low ABV) – it can be your life partner in spirits!
Downtown: Why is cocktail education important?
NS: New York City is the culinary epicenter of the world and is constantly evolving. It’s no surprise that restaurants here are world class! This has been an amazing opportunity for me to create a Moga era cocktail with “yo-shoku” influence. It’s been educational for me in terms of pairing cocktails with food, so I hope this series can be enlightening for other bartenders when they come and experience it firsthand.
Downtown: What are you excited about with this new series?
NS: I’ve never had to consider food pairings when working on cocktails so keeping the theme of the Moga in mind and pairing flavors to match yo-shoku cuisine has been an exciting challenge for me. I hope everyone is just as excited to taste my creations.